Press Advisory: State Health Commissioner Participates in Annual Effort to Fight Raccoon Rabies

Drops Rabies Vaccine Baits from Helicopter over Northern NY

Albany, N.Y. (Aug 17, 2007) - New York State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D., will participate in the annual state rabies bait drop on Monday, August 20 over northeastern New York from a state helicopter to fight the northward spread of raccoon rabies in New York and Canada. This year's annual rabies bait drop mission is targeting eastern Essex and Clinton counties to reduce the chance of human and domestic animal contact with rabid raccoons. Rabies is a fatal disease.

This program has successfully eliminated raccoon rabies from Clinton County and no cases of rabies were reported in Essex County for several years. However recent reports of three rabid raccoons in Quebec and Vermont near the border with Clinton County require continued diligence in maintaining the "rabies vaccination zone" established in 1996.

The press will have the opportunity to photograph the rabies vaccine baits dropping from the helicopter and the landing. Dr. Daines and the state Health Department rabies control staff will be available for interviews upon landing at 11 a.m. at the Westport Airport.

What: Press can interview state Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D., about his participation in the annual state Health Department rabies vaccine drop, part of the state's effort to eradicate rabies from New York.

When: Monday, August 20, 2007 – between 10:30 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.

Where: Westport Airport, Westport, New York in Essex County

Directions: The Westport Airport is located approximately one mile south of Westport on Rt. 9N/ / Rt. 22.

Representatives from the press planning to attend should contact the Department's Public Affairs Group at (518) 473-1470 by COB today.